KwaZulu-Natal boxing fans were treated to a spectacular night of entertainment and top-class fighting at the inaugural SMD Muscle Box and Dine tournament in Ballito on Friday night, August 22.
The event, the brainchild of former boxers Francois ‘The White Buffalo’ Botha and Hardy Mileham, was held at SMD’s state-of-the-art showroom, which was hardly recognisable as it was transformed into a boxing arena.
Eight professional clashes took place, including a debut of the lighter variety for popular East Coast Radio DJ Darren Maule.
Maule was led to believe that he would be up against former world heavyweight champion, ‘The White Buffalo’. After entering the ring to his song “Buffalo Soldier”, Botha stepped aside and Hardy Mileham Junior appeared in the ring to square up to the DJ. Maule pulled out all the stops and drew roars of laughter from the crowd when he appeared in the biggest boxing trunks ever seen, which were pulled up to his armpits, a short while into the fight he ran away to retrieve his glasses as he was battling to see. Despite a comical start, Maule showed some slick and great boxing moves, and with a bit of luck, knocked out his more accomplished opponent.
“Everything about the SMD Boxing night was genuine – the boxers, the ring, my opponent, the tournament and it was a privilege to be a part of it. That was an experience that I can definitely tick off my personal bucket list!” commented Darren Maule.
There were five professional boxers marking their pro-debuts, and under the watchful eye of Boxing South Africa’s provincial representative, Les Andreasen, several of them made winning starts to their professional careers.
The main card between popular local David Rajuile boxing under the watchful eye of trainer Hardy Mileham and Mthunzi Dlamini lasted four gripping rounds with the boxer from Ballito, who was stepping up in weight class, named a clear winner by all judges.
Golden Gloves fighter Ricardo Hiraman, a fighter with three knockout (KO) wins and one loss in his career, was amazingly deprived against Bongimuso Ndwandwe. Hiraman was way ahead on points on all three judge’s score cards, when he accidentally slipped on a wet patch on the floor in Ndwandwe’s corner, which prompted the referee to eroneously stop the fight and hand Ndwandwe the win.
In the next bout, Damian Heynecke won the battle against fellow debutant Thabiso Mdladla by knocking him out in the first round.
Another star, Samson Khumalo KO’ed his opponent Jabulani Zwane and Garth Noot lost against Prince Dlomo from Johannesburg.
Ballito sensation Armand Herbst continued his winning streak by knocking out his opponent Sphamandla Madlala in the second round with a straight left. Herbst’s trainer Hardy Mileham said, “I have a lot of confidence in Armand and I have no doubt that he will go far in professional boxing.”
Finally, Marcel Botha, fought a tough battle to win on a split decision against Khumbulani Mdletshi.
The aim of the night, organised by White Buffalo Productions, was largely to promote the hosting of boxing at the venue and to revive boxing, not just in KZN but throughout South Africa.
“We are grateful to SMD for their generous sponsorship and for hosting this event. It is our aim to provide young and upcoming boxers an opportunity to showcase their boxing skills in the hopes that they will one day be able to have the opportunity to see the world through the disciplined sport of boxing – in the same way that Francois Botha did,” commented event organizer Mileham.
The SMD Group, a state-of-the-art motor dealership in Ballito was established in 2003. Since its inception, the success of the SMD Group has seen the company expand to include the enviable Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford and Mazda brands.
“It was wonderful to be able to mingle with members of our community and we were thrilled to have been able to promote another popular sporting event in our region. I hope that this will be the first of many boxing ventures for us in KZN,” commented SMD Spokesman Vaughn Williams.
A Hall of Fame auction on the night, that saw boxing memorabilia, including gloves, Darren Maule’s personalized gown and autographed photographs, up for grabs fetched a total of R61900, 20% of which will go towards Buffalo Soldiers – a boxing talent search show which is televised.